My online friend Kelly Phillips Erb has an excellent column in Forbe’s about the upcoming increase in Social Security benefits for 2019. Please read the entire article for a full explanation. Here are the opening paragraphs:
Rising interest rates may be wreaking havoc on the markets, but they mean good news for those relying on Social Security: More than 63 million Americans will see an increase in their Social Security and SSI benefits in 2019.
What’s the reason for the change? Inflation appears to be on the way up. Typically, higher inflation rates reflect higher interest rates, and you might have already seen the impact on variable mortgage and credit card bills. To keep up with those changes, federal benefits automatically increase when the cost of living rises, as measured by the consumer price index (CPI). The CPI is published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and reflects “changes in the prices paid by urban consumers for a representative basket of goods and services.”
The latest annual inflation rate for the United States is 2.3%, as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for September of 2018. That’s the highest rate recorded in September since 2011. It should not surprise you then, to learn that the 2.8% boost to Social Security and SSI benefits in 2019 will mark the highest increase since 2012. For comparison, the adjustment for 2018 was 2% and 0.3% in 2017 – there was no change in 2016. When I reported on this issue five years ago, benefits rose by 1.5%, about half of the predicted increase for 2019.
A 2.8% increase would translate into an average Social Security benefit of $1,461 per month, up $39. The increase would boost the current maximum benefit to $2,861 per month, up $73. The increase would tick the average up for disabled workers to $1,234.